In my last post, I talked about how I eventually started getting up at 5 am (most mornings). But it’s not enough to get up earlier even when you have a great reason to – you need structure so that you don’t end up squandering your precious awake time. Hence the importance of having a solid morning routine to keep you on track.
“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
- Journaling/Morning Pages/Gratitude Journaling
When I first started establishing my morning routine, I was so excited that I tried adding all of the above elements into my routine. However within a few days I found that I was rushing around trying to check each item off my list before heading to work. It was becoming too stressful for me, which is the opposite of what a morning routine should be – focused and energizing.
So I started again from square one. I begin by aiming to get up at 5 AM, then only focusing on learning and reading, since those were most important to me at the time and the main reason I had wanted to get up earlier. Once that routine became habit, I started integrating meditation (first 10 minutes, now I’m up to 15 minutes) and affirmations. Then eventually I added in journaling (just one short paragraph on what would make my day great).
This spring, once the weather warms up a bit, I plan to add exercising to the mix – either a brisk walk or a run. But I’m not in a rush with this, since I know that I won’t stick to exercising when it’s still so cold and dark at 5 or 6 am. I want to give myself the best chances of succeeding.
Learning to take tiny baby steps with this process has been so important to building my routine and daily habits. I tend to be a high achiever who wants to do/fix everything at once, and when I fail I’m terribly unforgiving with myself. Be kind. Show compassion toward yourself.
Some of the benefits I’ve noticed since establishing my morning routine are:
- I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I do manage to wake up at 5 am (a seemingly impossible feat just a few years ago). It starts the day off on such a positive note. If I can do this, I can do anything!
- By having a morning routine in place, I get to decide what’s important to me and how I want my day to start. Not spending my early mornings reading emails or on social media means that I am not being reactive to others’ demands and complaints.
- I’m not rushing around anymore before heading out the door to go to work, whereas I used to sleep in as late a possible then run around like my head was on fire (sound familiar?). I can take my leisurely time getting ready, and it helps me stay calm for the rest of the day. (Meditation may also have something to do with this.)
- As someone who despises rush-hour crowds on public transit, I can’t say enough how nice it is to take the streetcar or subway downtown with very few other people. It’s quiet and comfy and I always get a seat. Bonus.
- Once I arrive downtown and make my way to my regular coffee shop, I spend an hour or more sipping my coffee and focusing on my personal development, either through a book or an online course. By the time I get to the office at 9 am for my pesky day job, I’m fully caffeinated, my brain has had a chance to warm up and I feel ready to face whatever comes my way. It’s made a huge difference in how I work.
Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?